Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Slow, snow day

We had snow today and yesterday and I wish I'd gone out and taken some photos. We're supposed to have more snow tomorrow though so maybe there is still hope. Princess went out to play today and she banged on the door and told me she was thirsty, so I made her some hot chocolate and she drank it in the snow on the back porch with a "Thanks, Mom! You're the bestest mom ever". Cute.

Monday, January 28, 2008

How much drool...

Can a keyboard take before it shorts out? I don't know the answer, but my guess is that I will find out in the next few months. Baby Bear is fascinated by the keyboard (an all other electronic devices, he got hysterical last night when I refused to hand over the TV remote), and anytime I am at the computer and holding him, he is right there trying to get me to let him suck on the space bar. Sometimes the only thing to do is chuckle at the amount of baby drool that ends up on me, but I suppose that's another post.

I've looked at blogger.com's FAQ's and can't find the information I need to figure out how to keep the spacing consistent in my posts. Anyone who can save me from random formatting problems is welcome to drop me a line--it would be most appreciated!

Last week I started listing things on eBay again after a long absence. I revised my strategy as well, and as of this morning have bids and watcher and am feeling happy! I want to empty my house of clutter and make myself some money and frankly, I love eBay :)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Today we have nothing on the schedule! No where to go, no one to see . . . refreshing to say the least. We do have a lot we can get done around the house, including mounds of laundry. Three sets of our bedding as a result of 2 baby barfs on our sheets and Princess getting a midnight nosebleed on Thursday. Yuck. I was once able to get all our laundry done on Tuesdays and Fridays, and I hope one day to return to that lovely state of laundry bliss. This constant always-having-a-load-to-deal-with thing makes me nuts.

Tuesday my husband and I finish up our final Family History Center directorship duties, by assisting the new directors at their first quarterly meeting. I am feeling sad about this calling coming to an end. We've been serving in the FHC for more than ten years, one or both of us, in one position or another. It has been about 5 years that we have worked together as the directors of the center. It will certainly give us more time to do our own genealogy research, which will be fun, but we will miss assisting in the direction that the FHC takes and the camaraderie we've felt with those we've worked with. As of yet, we have no official new callings, so that feels a little odd too. Not that I am complaining--everyone can use a break now and then!

My husband finished my quote database today and it is even more awesome than I anticipated! Hurray! I am so grateful for my computer tech husband and the time he spends on my less-than-technical behalf. Every time I add a quote, I'll think happy thoughts of him:

When eating a fruit, think of the person who planted the tree.

-Vietnamese saying

He also installed my new recipe software, so we'll see how it works this coming week. I tried a bunch of freeware ones and they were worse than useless, so I finally shelled out the dough to get one that is supposed to work! I wanted something that would let me search on an ingredient and give me a list of the recipes I have that will use that ingredient, and I am so excited to try this out!

Friday, January 25, 2008

End of the week

Today the kids woke up early, and thus I was awake and trying to function before I really wanted to. However, I have gotten a lot done as a result.

- read 2 stories to Princess (Little Bear and Riptide)

- set Princess up to paint with her tempera paints

- started the laundry (again, since I forgot to change it last night and it smells now)

- unloaded the dishwasher

- mostly re-loaded the dishwasher

- started clearing the mess of the dining room table

- cleared out one side of the kitchen sink

- made oatmeal for breakfast

- got Princess her snack (chocolate graham crackers, banana & milk) at 10:30

- fed & the baby several times

- checked my email

- deleted a ton of stuff

- researched Girl Scout-type organizations for Princess to join this Fall

Lots more to come, but I suppose even if I stopped right now, I would have accomplished a fair amount. Sometimes I need to give myself more credit. It is so easy to get discouraged about the amount of work to do and how little time there is to do it.

"You are doing the best you can, and that best results in good to yourself and to others."

- Gordon B. Hinckley

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Food adoration

I love reading cook books and so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I adore food blogs. The "Blogs" folder on my favorite lists receives additions on almost a daily basis, most of them filled with eye-popping, mouth-watering photographs of yummy stuff and descriptions of cuisine complicated or simple, but always unbelievably delicious.

Last night, my husband, Princess and I made cookies together. It was a wonderful evening and I hope that nights like those are something our children remember with fondness as they grow up. We started with a fairly ordinary oatmeal chocolate chip recipe. However, like me, Princess (who as a sign that we watch far too much Food TV, has taking to calling herself my sous chef when we're in the kitchen--"Mommy, your sous chef is getting the eggs out"), can't seem to leave a recipe alone. What we ended up with were these.

Our White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups quick oatmeal
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries

Mix together the first five ingredients until creamy. Add remaining ingredients. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

My husband absolutely loved them and I think we'll be making them a lot, although I'll likely be experimenting with substitutions for all that butter :)

In other baking news, we attempted to make Figgy Pudding just after Christmas:

It turned out alright, but I can tell it's a recipe which will take some refining to more closely match our family's tastes. It was really fun though, and the first time I've ever cooked in a waterbath or made an English-style pudding.
My massage therapist and I both love food and my sessions with her are often filled with discussions about our favorite recipes and things we have recently eaten. I was drooling over her descriptions of the special holiday feast she makes using her grandmother's traditional recipes for things like pirogis, and last time I was there she asked for the easy zucchini recipe I found this summer that is now my favorite because it does not require me to grate the zucchini (read: knuckles)! I misplaced the recipe, but when I find it for her, I'll post it here too.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Walk on the Beach

Today I asked Princess what she'd like to do for the day and she immediately said she'd like to go to the beach. My husband is home from work for Martin Luther King Day, so I left him home with Baby Bear, while Princess and I put on our rubber boots (mine are green with light green polka dots and hers are pink with flowers, stripes and molded rubber ribbons on the sides) and tromped off to a waterfront park with a smidgen of sand.

I took the camera and found myself fascinated by the way the water rushed over the pebbles in the surf and the few bits of bright seaweed and rocks against the bland grey/black/brown of the general rubble. Here are my favorite photos.

We found a deceased starfish floating at the water's edge and Princess was fascinated by it. On the way home she told me that it was missing its head. I asked if she was sure about that, and she was quiet for several minutes while she thought about it. Then she told me she was pretty sure that it hadn't lost its head because starfish "have heads that are part of themselves, so they can't come off". By the time we got home she was convinced that a shark nibbling on it had caused its demise.

The loot in Princess' smiley face bucket. I refused to let her take a full bucket home :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Moan & Groan

It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out - it's the grain of sand in your shoe.
-Robert Service

I'm now doing physical therapy and massage therapy twice a week to try and fix the shoulder I damaged while giving birth to Baby Bear. In addition, I am icing it twice a day and doing 15 reps each of three different exercizes, twice a day. I can't help but feel I really don't have time for all of this stuff. I am definitely overwhelmed by it. It's wrecked havoc on our schedule and my husband has about reached his limit of being able to duck out of meetings at work and drive home to watch the kids while I deal with the appointments. Add to that my job, which requires lifting, carrying and cuddling a now nore than twenty pound child . . . there is not much room for resting my shoulder.
I am trying to believe that all of this has meaning, that it will work, I will be healed and all will be well again, but mostly I feel like I'm doomed to a life of pain at this point. I want to get this healed and not hurt anymore, but it's not like I can take three months off of my life and do nothing in order to do it? So I waffle between being a faithful patient and a bad-tempered one. I am going to have to start asking for help in watching the kids while I have to be out . . . another day where I am wishing I was wonder woman.

The funny thing is that I spent years having pain in the OTHER shoulder, which has now been completely drowned out (except when the massage lady pokes at it) becuase of this one. Seems like I often get the lesson called "And You Thought It Was Bad Before" so clearly I haven't learned to be greatful enough for the blessings I have, even if I've got troubles scattered here and there as well.

Some days I can get along without hardly thinking about how much it aches, but I find I have much less patience than I'd like to in every area of my life. It's like a constant piece of sand in my shoe . . .

All done with the moaning and groaning. Onward, ever onward.

For those who will fight bravely and not yield,
there is triumphant victory over all the dark things of life.

- James Allen

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Halfway through January

Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.
Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.
~Mark Twain

Yesterday my friend Joan came over to meet Baby Bear for the first time. He's almost 6 months old and this is her first visit with him. She's a single woman, close to my mother's age that I met half dozen or so years ago when she signed up for the ballet class I was teaching at the YMCA. We share a passion for dance (ballet in particular), philosophy, and savoring of the miraculous moments of life. We get together every few months to talk gratitude and hope and she is truly a bright spot in my life.

Towards the end of our afternoon, she said that she wasn't sure what her relationship would be with Baby Bear before she met him. She adores my daughter, but wasn't as sure about how things would work out with this new little person. However, now that she's met him, she's positive that they'll be friends. He seemed to enjoy her visit and even fell asleep as she held him.

We watched a dance dvd, "A Simple Man" which was by turns disturbing and hauntingly beautiful. It wasn't something I'll probably watch again...frankly, I don't like L.S. Lowry's artwork much. The best part of the entire show was a scene where a painting of the ocean was portrayed by dancers undulating like waves on the floor. This would not have been particularly effective, except that the backdrop, floor and dancers costuming & make up was all made of the same stuff pattern and at first you could not even see the dancers! No cardboard waves moving up and down on this stage! It was magnificent. I could have mostly left the rest, although it was very well produced.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


I love quotes. I love concise pieces of wisdom that pack a punch. I've collected them for years now without having a good way to categorize, store, sort and search. I finally decided there must be somebody out there who needed a quote organizing system like me... someone who'd already created one, hopefully. After much searching I found this - the only issue being that I don't really want to spend $75 for it!
I was feeling really frustrated and then I remembered that years ago my husband had created a database for the names that I collect (yes, another strange hobby). It was a fairly simple process using a ready-made database product, so I asked him to do it again! It's not done yet, but it should allow me to add the entire text of the quote, filtering categories and the ability to do full text searches! I am so excited!
Today I need to finish putting away the holiday stuff, tidy the house, spend some time with my daughter and accomplish a couple of writing goals, so I'd better be off... but here are a few quotes to leave you with!
"Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice."-
- Woodrow T. Wilson
"The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not, and never persist in trying to set people right."
- Hannah Whitall Smith
"The poet's, the writer's duty is to write about these things which are important to the soul of man. It is his privilege to help man endure by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail." - William Faulkner

Monday, January 7, 2008

"I urge you to examine your life. Determine where you are and what you need to do to be the kind of person you want to be. Create inspiring, noble, and righteous goals that fire your imagination and create excitement in your heart. And then keep your eye on them. Work consistently towards achieving them."
- Joseph B. Wirthlin
With the new year comes the pressure to figure out how to make something more of oneself. As usual, I've fallen for the lure of a little more personal perfection than I currently possess and have outlined a few things to work on in 2008. So far I am doing good, but Mondays always bring an opportunity for me to fall off of my forward-moving wagon of hope, so here's a little concrete reminder to myself. Plus, the NaNoWriMo people subscribe to telling as many people as possible about a goal so that you are far too deep to back out without basically letting everyone know your a big 'ol quitter-roo. Even though I didn't win this year, I learned a ton about moving forward with monumental tasks.
For starters, one of my CU goals is to "Develop a wellness program for yourself and maintain your schedule for three weeks". My current "wellness plan" consists of 1) Going for a walk 5 days a week, 2) No snacking after 10pm, 3) No skipping meals or snacks 4) Take my vitamins every day, 5) Feed the baby at midnight and actually go to sleep after that. I did great last week, 100% on #1 & #4!
Next up is to keep a tidy home. Things have been so out of control during my periods of illness in the last few years and I really want a place that can be a refuge from the cares of the world. A place where anytime the fancy strikes me I can invite others in or over without fear they'll break a leg or feel the need to call the CDC.
Last (for today, since I have ten million things to do), is that I really want to cut our food bills by about half, with 25% of that cut coming from our very own garden. Yesterday I found this site, and it lists a whole bunch of winter crops that can be grown in this area, so I hope to be able to have enough to can/preserve from the warm weather as well as plant cold weather stuff for year round productivity.